FeaturesAnimal of the Month: Turbo

Animal of the Month: Turbo


Name :  Pc Dave Bisson
Age : 52
Occupation : Police Officer
Favourite food : Thai
Pet Hate : Queuing and traffic jams
Happiest when : Relaxing on the beach with a cold beer in my hand


Name: Turbo
Age : 7
Occupation : Police Dog
Favourite food : Anything
Pet hate : Being left in the van whilst ‘dad’ works with Jack
Happiest when: I’ve been awarded my toy kong for doing something well

“I have been a Police Officer for nearly 17 years; 13 of which I have been a dog handler.

My journey with Turbo began in April 2013 when, after successfully working my first dog Thor for 7 years, I returned to the dog training school at Surrey Police headquarters in Guildford to begin another 13 weeks of training with my new dog.

Being the only non-local handler, I had arrived on the Sunday night prior to the course beginning on the Monday, so I had an opportunity to see the 5 dogs that had been allocated to the course before any of the other handlers arrived.

When I saw Turbo, I immediately hoped that he was going to be mine. He was slightly bigger than the other dogs, and when he ran up to the kennel bars and began to bark loudly at me, there was something about him that I really liked. The next morning, I was very pleased to learn that he had been assigned to me and would become by new K9 crime fighting partner.

Turbo proved to be quite a slow learner at the beginning and was falling behind the other dogs in one particular exercise. Halfway through week 4, the trainer said that they were considering withdrawing Turbo from the course, meaning that I would have to be assigned another dog and be significantly set back.

At the end of that week, we travelled to Hendon to collect another dog. We loaded her onto the van along with Turbo and the other dogs, and went out for another day of training.

Whether or not Turbo sensed his days might be numbered, he did something that day that made the trainer think twice about removing him from the course, and asked me if I would be prepared to work both dogs for the time being, until he was certain which dog to progress with.

I had started to forge such a strong bond with Turbo, that I did not want to give up on him without a fight. For the next 3 weeks, I worked both dogs; doubling up on all my duties with exercising them, feeding them and cleaning out their kennels.

By the end of week 7, it had all paid off and the trainer was satisfied that Turbo would be able to go on to complete the course.

I was very proud and somewhat relieved that, on 26th June 2013, Turbo and I passed the course and received our certificates from The Chief Officer for Surrey Police.

Turbo adapted very easily to his new life in Jersey and immediately took to coming into work with me. In February 2016, Turbo was joined at home by my new drugs, cash and firearms detection dog; a 12 month old English Springer Spaniel, named Jack.

There’s no such thing as a typical day for a Police Officer and the same goes for being a Police dog handler. I’m attached to a team and am expected to carry out the same duties as my colleagues, which can be anything from recording and investigating crimes, searching for missing people, carrying out speed campaigns and community engagements – to name but a few.

Whenever I am on duty, Turbo and Jack are on duty and they both come to work in my specially adapted Police dog van. If a job comes in that requires either Turbo’s or Jack’s special skills, albeit searching for someone, clearing a building, searching for property, searching a car or house for drugs, or even deploying alongside our Firearms team, then we are ready.

To be a dog handler, you have to love having a dog in your life. You must have the space to accommodate them, be extremely patient and, above all, be able to accept the highs and lows from your experiences; both in training and from live situations. The role is a 7 – 8 year commitment.

For a dog to be a successful Police dog, it needs to be strong willed, aggressive but controlled, fit and agile and to believe that other than his ‘dad’, he is the baddest, meanest dog on the planet, so that it fears no one or any situation.

Turbo loves to work and train and I believe he truly loves being a Police dog. He has proven himself so much during his service, that I’m sure when he retires in 12 months time, he will find the transition from working dog to pet dog very strange.

Our perfect day off together would be a lovely sunny day. We would take our usual leisurely walk through the open fields near to our home. Turbo and Jack would chase each other all over the place, wearing themselves out. We would return home and, after we’ve all had breakfast, we would just chill out in the garden. I’d be reading, the dogs would be playing or just relaxing in the sun. Any time the dogs are out of their kennels is always a good time for them.”  

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